Summary Of Mary Ainsworth's The Strange Situation

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In the mid twentieth century, Mary Ainsworth developed a theory to understand infants’ instinctual needs, which can be directly linked to the findings of John Bowlby. Human infants have an innate drive to seek out physical contact and a sense of closeness with other humans. Ainsworth theorizes that attachment is primarily socially driven. This drive requires no motivation from outside sources. An infant’s behavior is “goal-corrected”; meaning that infants are constantly aware of their proximity to their attachment figure and need to keep that proximity within a comfortable distance. In 1969, Ainsworth developed “The Strange Situation”, in order to test and measure her theory of infant attachment. From the observations of this study, Ainsworth…show more content…
Ambivalent/Resistant attached infants show extreme distress in the absence of their caretaker, which continues even when the caregiver returns. The first phase of developing attachment behaviors occurs during the first few months of life, where infants display signals but do not differentiate between caregivers and strangers. In phase two, infants begin to notice the difference between familiar and unfamiliar adults. Around 7 months, infants enter stage 3, where their signals are no longer simply for survival but are purposeful towards receiving a response from a familiar adult and begin to show signs of separation anxiety when their caregiver is not present. At age 3, toddlers enter stage 4, and have developed specific behaviors in order to prohibit their caregiver from participating in activities that take the caregiver’s attention away from them. Infant attachment is critical to healthy relationships in the future, however there is flexibility depending on the experiences that humans encounter throughout their…show more content…
Ratelle, Sarah-Caroline Poitras, and Evelyne Drouin attempted to explain the correlation between worries about middle school and a child’s attachment to their parents. The transition into middle school can be stressful for any child, but some children suffer from extreme anxiety about the transition. In the article, it says “Because the emotional, academic, and social functioning of children and adolescents is partly explained by external factors such as parental behavior (Bowlby, 1969; Grolnick, 2003; Moss & St-Laurent, 2001), it is plausible that attachment security to parents can be critical in the genesis of negative emotions associated with the upcoming transition to middle school.” As children experience stressful situations, they begin to rely on their relationship to their parents to guide them. If children can trust their parents, they are more likely to trust their teachers and experience a sense of confidence when handling stressful situations. The results of the study performed indicate that children perceived a stronger attachment with their same-sex parent. Girls, however, displayed more signs of anxiousness about school and developing healthy student to teacher relationships. These results support the thought that a child’s attachment to their parents, specifically the mother, plays a

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